Can Tortoises Be Allowed to Roam Freely in a Home?

Even if you have a spacious home, you should not allow your tortoises to roam freely. This is because they may be at risk of getting lost or injured while roaming, or they could fall or experience extremes of temperature in some areas of the house. They may also get stuck or attacked by another pet.

Depending on the climate you live in, you may decide to keep your tortoise indoors or outdoors, or you may alternate between the two options depending on the season. In captivity, even if you create a big enclosure for your tortoise, it will still likely be quite a limited space, which means it won’t truly be able to go wherever it desires.

Thus, you may be tempted to let it roam freely in the house, so it can have more space to be active.

But is it okay to do so? Would it be safe for the tortoise and, for that matter, your home to let the reptile go wherever it wants?

Reasons Why You Should Not Let Your Tortoise Roam Freely in a Home

Letting your tortoise roam freely in your house may seem like a good idea at first, especially if you want to make sure they can enjoy more space and stay active. Nevertheless, it’s not okay to let it do so, and it’s actually not recommended to let the tortoise roam freely. You take several risks by doing so.

  • They Risk Getting Injured by Other Pets

If you’re a huge animal lover, perhaps you decided on getting more than one pet. You may own a dog or a cat in addition to your tortoise. Therefore, even if your other pet(s) seem to accept the tortoise, your reptile may still be at risk of getting injured if it roams around freely.

Basically, they can accidentally be injured while the other animal is playing with them, especially if you’re not keeping an eye on the situation. Your tortoise may also start seeing the animal as a predator, which could lead to a lot of stress.

To prevent this from happening, it’s best simply to not let the tortoise roam freely in your home. To learn more about keeping tortoises as well as other pets check out this article.

  • They Risk Ingesting Something They Shouldn’t

You obviously have many different items in your home, from pieces of furniture to decorations – even on the floor. Moreover, if you have children, they are probably playing with toys on the floor a lot. A free roaming tortoise might encounter these items and think it’s a good idea to chew on or even swallow them. Toys aren’t the only risk – even soft furnishings might seem like a good meal to a tortoise.

Sadly, this is extremely dangerous, and the tortoise’s stomach could get impacted. On top of that, if the reptile starts biting electrical cables, it may get electrocuted. Again, keep your tortoise safe by not letting this happen.

  • The Unprotected Environment Will Cause Stress

A home is not the typical environment a tortoise is used to, so considering how unfamiliar it is, it may lead to a lot of stress. Tortoises will feel unprotected, and they will not know what to do to protect themselves, especially in the absence of places to take cover. It’s never good for a tortoise to become stressed as it can lead to a range of health conditions.

  • Risks of Accident or Injury

If you’re not monitoring your tortoise’s every move about the house, it may end up accidentally falling down the stairs, falling off a table or a chair, or being kicked by an unwitting cohabitee. As a result, there’s a good chance the tortoise will get injured, and not only would this be painful and stressful for the tortoise, but you would also have to rush to the vet if it’s severe.

  • Larger Species Might Cause Damage

Larger tortoise species, such as Red Foot tortoises or Sulcatas require more space than their smaller counterparts, which is something that might tempt you to allow them to roam freely around the house. However, this can be pretty destructive for your home.

Large species, such as Sulcata tortoises, are surprisingly strong and powerful. They will not hesitate to bulldoze through pretty much anything that stands in their way. So, unless you want to spend money on reparations to your home, it’s best to keep the tortoise in the designated enclosure.

  • Temperatures Are Likely to be Inconsistent

Temperatures fluctuate in a house, especially in different areas of it. As you know, tortoises need specific temperatures to stay healthy, and walking around the house freely will subject them to different temperatures.

These temperatures may feel great for humans, but not for tortoises. It is particularly likely that certain rooms may be too cold for the pet, and this is unhealthy for your reptile, especially if they cannot make their way to a warmer area at will.

How to Keep Your Tortoise Safe Indoors?

To keep your tortoise safe, you should build a nice, strong enclosure that includes everything the tortoise needs, and crucially doesn’t allow it to escape. A wood enclosure is one of the best ways to do so. It will make them feel safe, unlike a glass container.

You should also bring UBA or UVB lights to offer it the light it requires to stay healthy, and you should also keep the temperature fairly warm. Usually, tortoises should have at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees C) in their enclosure.

Replicating the outdoor environment is also something that should be done to keep the tortoise happy. Providing it with natural elements like rocks, plants, branches, and anything of the sort will help make this possible.

Also, if you notice that your reptile is scratching around, or that it’s being noisy in the enclosure, you should see this as a signal that you either need to make it larger, or replace it with a larger enclosure. Extend the enclosure to give the tortoise as much space as possible to move around and be active. This is far better than letting it roam freely in your home.

Final Thoughts

Allowing a tortoise to roam freely in your home is not recommended. It can be risky both for your tortoise and for your home. If you want your tortoise to have more space to move around, you should increase the size of the enclosure instead.

Allowing it to roam in a home would only make it more likely for the tortoise to get injured by either a pet or a person, feel stressed, or possibly damage your home.

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